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A ceasefire: I am pausing my campaign against Accelerated Christian Education

A ceasefire: I am pausing my campaign against Accelerated Christian Education April 17, 2015

Sorry for the recent silence. I spent the first three months of this year working hard to increase my blog audience, and now I’ve frittered that away with two weeks of silence. Hopefully some of the new readers will stick around (hi!), but I imagine most will head off to other Patheos blogs which are actually updated from time to time.

As my longtime readers know, I’m currently doing a PhD. I’ve spent the first two years of this procrastinating (this blog has been an effective outlet for thesis-avoidance). I could get away with it for quite a while because I already knew a lot about my subject, so producing a chapter here and there on ACE was really just a question of writing down ideas I’ve had for ages. It turns out, though, that if you want a real university to award you a PhD, you actually have to do some work. And I’ve started.

Pause button
Public domain image via Pixabay.

One thing I’ve decided, though, it that I can’t do this and campaign against Accelerated Christian Education, and that’s not just a question of time. I could set aside a couple of hours a week to bash ACE, but I don’t think I should. My research involves interviewing people who went to ACE schools. In the research information I send possible participants, I say:

I believe my finished thesis will give us a valuable insight into the outcomes of students from Christian schools, helping us to see what the schools do well and what they could do better.

One participant raised a flag about this. They wanted to know if I really meant what I said. Would it not be more accurate to say that I oppose ACE schools and I want to see them regulated? I thought about this for a while, and decided no—I really do want to approach my interviews with an open mind about what I might learn. I think there’s a better chance I’ll be able to do that if I’m not currently campaigning for one particular point of view.

Obviously, I’m not pretending I’m coming to this discussion as a blank slate. My blog posts about ACE are still online for anyone to read, and I inform my participants that I have a critical view of ACE (so far, every participant has either seen my blog or one of my talks, so they know my opinion). Still, no researcher comes to their research without any preconceptions of biases.

This isn’t something I have to do. My supervisor hasn’t suggested it (in fact, when he sees this blog post it will be the first he’s heard of it). There are those who think that my research will simply be a hatchet job on ACE, that I’m impossibly biased, and not a trustworthy person to carry out this research. I doubt that this small step will affect their opinions. I’m not doing it for them. I’m doing it because I think I will produce a better thesis at the end if I do this.

That doesn’t mean the blog will go silent. You may have notice that only a minority of my recent posts have been about ACE anyway. I’ll still be posting, but the posts will be less frequent. I am aiming to submit my thesis at the end of September, so normal activity should resume sometime after that (assuming I pass, of course).

In the absence of new material from me, you might be interested in these posts:

Cassidy wrote about creationism, sexism, and homophobia, referencing my earlier posts on the subject.

Alex Gabriel responded to my post about The Big Questions.

See you all soon.

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